Protesting Princeton students reach agreement, end sit-in | us news

Protesting Princeton students reach agreement, end sit-in

20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Princeton Agrees to Consider Removing a President’s Name.

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — Princeton University has reached an agreement with students protesting inside the president’s office, ending a nearly two-day sit-in. Princeton students ended a 32-hour sit-in in the university president’s office on Thursday night after administrators signed a document that committed them to begin conversations about addressing racial tension on campus, including possibly removing the name of former President Woodrow Wilson from some public spaces, the university and students said.PRINCETON — Princeton University’s president and the students camping in his office signed an agreement late Thursday that outlines changes sought by the protesting students and ends the two-day, 32-hour occupation. “We appreciate the willingness of the students to work with us to find a way forward for them, for us and for our community,” Eisgruber said in a statement. “We were able to assure them that their concerns would be raised and considered through appropriate processes.” Moments after the students emerged from signing the agreement, the university received a “non-specific bomb and firearm threat that made reference to a student protest on campus,” via email, an alert to the campus read. The sit-in came amid racial tension and escalating student activism on college campuses nationwide and focused in part on what students called Wilson’s legacy of racism.

The debate came in the midst of a national escalation of the topic of race on campus, with students at dozens of colleges confronting administrators and other students and presenting demands — and anonymous threats surfacing, as well. On Tuesday night, an anonymous Twitter user sent messages threatening to shoot black students at Kean University at the same time as students were holding a rally to raise awareness of racial unrest at college campuses. But it’s the 28th president’s well-documented and troubled history toward racial relations that have sparked a sit-in protest this week along with demands Princeton remove his name from prominence on campus.

Kane and her friends let the comment and the looks slide but the moment sticks out to her as one of the first instances she was treated differently on campus because of her race. Eisgruber made the concessions to students from the Black Justice League, who have been occupying his office since Wednesday, while demanding changes on campus. President Christopher Eisgruber immediately agreed to the idea of a cultural space Wednesday night, but declined to sign the demands and promised to continue talking with students about the other ideas. West, students say, implored to university officials that protesting students were steadfast in staying in their occupation until an agreement was reached. Amidst feelings of both unrest and solidarity that surrounded the ongoing sit-in at Nassau Hall Thursday evening, students like Kane shared their experiences with racism on campus and their reasons for braving the rain to be among the protestors.

The developments were reported in a live blog by the University Press Club, which was invited to the afternoon meeting the students had with Eisgruber. Wilson graduated from Princeton in 1879 and served as its president from 1902 to 1910 before becoming president of the United States from 1913 until 1921. Students asked that his name be removed from a residential college, the university’s school of public and international affairs, and that a mural of him be removed from a dining hall. Eisgruber, the university’s president, told students Wednesday that he agreed that Wilson had been a racist but that he had done some things that were honorable and others that were worthy of scorn.

Protesters remained inside Eisgruber’s office late Thursday trying to hash out an agreement. a meeting during which the president reportedly made some concessions. “Princeton is the number one school in the country,” Kane said, adding that she wants to stand in solidarity with other similar protests at schools around the country, but that she also wants to change inherent racist tendencies on campus. While history remembers Wilson as a progressive Democrat who championed liberal reforms in the U.S. and abroad, he also held segregationist views and acted on them as president. Wilson excused the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, calling it understandable in view of the “lawless” situation that victimized whites in the South after the Civil War. It was just one example of feeling silenced, but Tadese maintains there’s a larger problem – the lack of understanding in the administration about the difficulties students of color face.

Write an email to Katie Hall, the chair of the Board of Trustees, to initiate conversations concerning the present legacy of Woodrow Wilson on this campus, including Black Justice League’s request to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name. The university expressed “a commitment to working toward” more campus artwork showing people of diverse ethnic backgrounds and said it would allocate four rooms of one building for the use of “cultural affinity groups.” It also said they would consider making a curriculum change to include a “diversity requirement.” Esther Maddox, a junior who participated in the sit-in, said it was “a long, exhausting and really trying experience.” She said she felt that “what we are doing is creating a campus environment that will eventually allow people like me to feel more comfortable on this campus.” However, just as our nation reevaluated its bizarre attachment to the confederate flag, it is time for our University to reevaluate its blind veneration to its deeply racist demigod.”

BJL members will be involved in a working group with the staff of the Residential Colleges to begin discussions on the viability of the formation of Affinity Housing for those interested in black culture. Dean Gonzalez will work with the BJL to invite two members to attend the meeting on December 8th to discuss with the General Education Task Force the possibility of a diversity requirement. On the final demand concerning amnesty from disciplinary action for those who remained in President Eisgruber’s office overnight on November 18th, 2015.

In the future, information in regards to processes concerning disciplinary action, protests and Rights, Rules and Responsibilities will be clearly given from administration to students in writing.

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